New York Online Gambling
Gamble Online Legally in New York State
You can gamble online on horse and greyhound races, enter DFS contests and play at sweepstakes gaming sites in New York. Other forms of gambling are legal in person – with legislative efforts continuing. Sports betting is expected to be available online in 2020. Online poker and casino games will require new legislation.
New York is a pro-gambling state. When it comes to online gambling, the Attorney General’s office has been at the center of crackdowns. This includes the 2011 implementation of the 2006 UIGEA laws and the 2015 ‘Cease and Desist’ for the Daily Fantasy Sports sites.
This page covers all of your options for gambling online in New York State in depth. First below is a look at the various bills which have shaped the current online gambling scene. After that sports betting, DFS, horse racing bets, casinos, poker and lottery games are covered in turn.
New York: Online gambling laws and statutes
Over the years a lot of bills looking to expand gambling have been introduced in New York. Many have failed to make it through the committee process.
Legal New York gambling: Recent key dates
- 2011: The Attorney General of the Southern District of New York orchestrates the seizure of domains of popular online poker sites including Full Tilt, PokerStars and Ultimate Bet. This was known as ‘Black Friday’.
- 2013: Sports betting was made legal, with the ‘New York Gaming Economic Development Act’ passing a state-wide referendum. This covered retail sports betting and added 4 new commercial NY casinos. It was not possible to implement retail sports betting, due to the PASPA act.
- 2018: PASPA was repealed by the Supreme Court. This returned jurisdiction over sports betting to the states. This allowed for the sports betting parts of the 2013 bill to be implemented.
- 2015: Daily Fantasy Sports contests became the subject of controversy after Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ruled that these were illegal. A cease and desist letter was sent to the main sites, who appealed.
- 2016: DFS games returned to New York. S8153 licensed and regulated these contests, allowing the sites to re-enter the state.
- 2018: Bill SB 7900 is introduced. This sought to add online sports betting to the retail sports betting laws. This bill did not make it through the legislative process.
- 2019: Retail sports betting goes live. Sportsbooks open at the 4 upstate casinos following acceptance of rules laid out by the New York State Gaming Commission.
- 2019: Mobile sports betting bill put forward. Bill S 17 included a 0.2% ‘integrity fee’ which proved controversial. This did not make it through the legislative process.
- 2020: New legislation introduced to add mobile sports betting (which would include an in-person sign-up provision). These include a revamped version of S 17, S 18 for online poker games – and several new bills which cover online sports betting.
To gamble in New York, you need to be 21 or over. Visitors to the state can gamble at New York casinos, sportsbooks and at OTB offices.
New York State sports betting
2020 could be a breakthrough year for online sports betting in NY.
Betting at retail locations was made legal in 2013. At that time, it could not be implemented. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal bill preventing sports betting, was still in place.
After challenging this bill in successive courts, New Jersey had this overturned at the Supreme Court in 2018. That repeal returned jurisdiction over betting to the states, thus making way for legislation across the country – and triggering a clause in the New York Gaming Economic Development Act of 2013, which made New York sports betting legal.
In July of 2019, the New York Gaming Commission published their licensing terms and rules for retail sportsbooks. The first books launched in time for the start of the NFL season. You’ll find a list of the retail sportsbooks in the section below. Note that most of these are partnerships between online sportsbook brands and the local commercial and tribal casinos.
Legislation efforts for New York sports betting have created controversy in terms of the so-called ‘integrity fee’ for the pro leagues. Initial bills included a 2% on turnover (not profit). The sportsbooks claimed this was the equivalent of a 20% tax on their overall profits. It was reduced to 0.25% in later bills. This is a levy/tax for the pro sports teams.
There are multiple bills moving forward in the 2020 legislative session. These include provisions to add mobile sports betting to the brick and mortar venues. Sports betting may also be expanded to racetracks and OTB offices, in addition to the commercial and retail casinos.
Online sports betting brands active in New York
Partnerships between the biggest online betting brands and New York casinos are already established. Big names include FOX Bet, DraftKings, Caesars Sports and PointsBet.
At the time of writing, these brands are running the retail sportsbooks at the casinos. When mobile/online sports betting starts in New York, these partnerships will ensure that the big brands have a place booked.
Here are the partnerships so far:
- FanDuel: This popular DFS site have full online sportsbooks in several states. In New York, they have partnered with the Tioga Downs trial casino.
- BetRivers: Rivers casino took the first legal (retail) sports betting wager in NY at the Resorts World casino in Catskills. Their online brand ‘BetRivers’ is already active in Pennsylvania.
- Caesars Sports: Hotel and gambling giant Caesars have partnerships with three New York casinos. These are the Yellow Brick Casino, Point Palace Casino and the Turning Point Casino.
- FOX Bet: This brand is a joint venture between Stars Group and FOX Sports. They have announced a future partnership with the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino.
- DraftKings: This DFS powerhouse are now one of the biggest sports betting brands in regulated states. They are partnering with the del Lago Casino, NY.
There are several other major online sports betting brands which will be keen to get a foothold in the NY market. These include William Hill, PointsBet, 888 Sport, Unibet and theScore.
Daily Fantasy Sports contests in NY
Fantasy Sports contests online are fully legal and regulated in New York. During the period 2015 to 2016, there was a lot of controversy.
This started in 2014, when Attorney General Eric Schneiderman published an opinion that DFS games are illegal gambling under New York statutes. Major sites DraftKings and FanDuel appealed. While their legal challenges were underway, both sites were served with ‘Cease and Desist’ notices – forcing them to temporarily shut down.
In parallel, a new bill was introduced. Bill S8153 was passed in 2016 (the sites voluntarily shut down in NY during the legislative process). This regulated the DFS sites – making them expressly legal.
Today you can enjoy short duration picks style contests for real money online. DFS sites cover many sports; including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, eSports and MMA. Both college and pro league matches are included.
DFS games come in two main categories, with multiple variations of each one. Cash games and tournament contests both start with picking a line-up (roster) of players. A salary cap is specified for your picks.
Cash games are smaller contests, starting with simple head-to-head matches, where your line up challenges against a single other player. Tournaments involve multiple players, with some bigger ‘Guaranteed Prize Pool’ games attracting 1000’s of entries. Variations include 50/50 tournaments (where half the field double their money), other splits and satellite qualifiers.
You can also set up a private league for your friends or office at the DFS sites.
Betting on horses in NY
Horse racing has a long history in New York. It has been expressly legal to bet on horse races online since 2006. The UIGEA bill, which banned many forms of online gambling, had a carve-out for betting on horses. This made it possible to legally bet via pari-mutuel pools on horses and greyhounds in states where this is legal in person.
New York allows betting at racetracks and via simulcast (at both tracks and OTB offices). With no regulation banning online horse racing bets, this is legal in the Empire State.
Online horse race bets take a different format to sports betting. Instead of the odds being set by the books, your bets are pooled. Pari-mutuel betting works by taking the stakes of all bettors that back a horse (or combination of horses) and dividing that pool among the winning tickets.
These are the types of bet you can place online:
- Win: Backing a selection to come first
- Place: Your horse can come first or second
- Show: First, second or third
- Exacta: Back two horses to finish 1-2 in the right order
- Trifecta: Here you pick 1-2-3 in the right order
- Superfecta: Picking the first 4 in the right order could win a big prize
- Pick 5/6: This is a multi-race bet at a single track. If nobody wins, the pools can be rolled over
It is possible to ‘Box’ your horse racing bets. This means backing multiple combinations to cover all the finishing orders of the 2, 3 or 4 horses you choose.
New York horse racing bets online: The sites
Three major horse racing betting sites dominate the scene online. These sites are legal in almost every state and offer you the chance to bet at tracks around the country, watch races live and to bet at selected meetings from around the world.
- TwinSpires: This site is named after the famous building at Kentucky Downs, home of the famous Kentucky Derby. You’ll get access to courses around the country. You’ll get a $100 bonus at TwinSpires for wagering your first $500.
- TVG: This site is tied to the TV network which shows races. You can watch many of them via a live stream while you bet. Free past-performance reports (which are usually paid) are available for races that you bet on. You’ll get a match on your first eligible wager up to $200 at this site.
- Bet America: This racing site have made moves in other states towards full sportsbooks. They are a popular horse racing site, offering wagers from more than 100+ tracks. The sign-up bonus at this site is quick and simple. You’ll get a 100% match to your first deposit, up to $100.
If you want to place bets in person in New York, you’ll find a lot of racetracks to choose from. These include some which are famous for thoroughbred racing – and many more which feature harness contests.
Top NY State racetracks
- Belmont Park
- Saratoga Springs
- Aqueduct Racetrack
- Finger Lakes Racetrack
- Batavia Downs
- Monticello Raceway
- Tioga Downs
- Vernon Downs
- Yonkers Raceway
If you can’t make it to a racetrack, there are also 170 Off Track Betting (OTB) offices which you can place wagers at in New York. These are divided into 5 regional groups, which are run by non-profit ‘Corporations’.
- Capital District Regional
- Catskill Regional
- Suffolk Regional
- Western Regional
You can bet via simulcast at tracks around the country from these locations.
NY Online casino gambling: Sweepstakes casino sites
Regulation of real money casinos has been tried before in New York. 2020 could see a fresh attempt to pass laws to introduce this.
In the meantime, there is an alternative way to enjoy online casino slots and limited table gaming action. Social casinos operate legally online in New York using laws designed for sweepstakes games. They turn every spin or hand of blackjack into a short sweepstakes contest.
To stay legal, they can’t directly charge players for entering their contests (playing their casino games). At the same time, you can win – and withdraw money to your bank afterwards.
The solution is a special dual currency system:
- Gold Coins: These chips are for play money purposes only and can’t be redeemed.
- Sweeps Coins: If you win while playing for this currency, you can exchange them for dollars and cash out to your bank. Sweepstakes casinos can’t sell you sweeps coins. Instead they will sell you gold coins – and give you the sweeps coins for ‘free’ with your purchase. This system, together with providing ways to get completely free (no deposit or gold coin purchase needed) sweeps coins keeps the sweepstakes casinos legal.
You’ll find a range of colorful, slickly produced and entertaining slots at both Chumba Casino and Luckyland slots. Chumba also have a blackjack game, video poker and keno.
Online poker games in New York State
Online poker is another controversial area for gamblers in New York. It was the Attorney General of New York’s southern district that killed off the major online poker sites. Brands including PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet had stayed on after the UIGEA. That act, in 2006, saw many big names like Party Poker and 888 Poker leave the US.
In 2011, the domains of the remaining sites were seized, and they were forced to leave. Three of these sites closed, with Full Tilt eventually reopening after being bought by PokerStars.
There have been various attempts in New York to regulate online poker rooms within state lines. None of these have made it through the legislative process.
2020 sees a renewed effort in the form of Bill S 18 put forward by Senator Joseph B Addabbo Jr. This looks to regulate online poker games in parallel with Bill S 17 (that covers sports betting). At the time of writing it is too early to know whether this will make it through the legislative process.
There is a legal poker option for New York players in the meantime. Like the casinos covered above, Global Poker uses sweepstakes contest laws to provide online poker games around the country. This has grown into a large site – using browser-based games – providing both cash game and tournament variations.
You won’t be able to buy sweeps coins directly. Instead you buy gold coins, receiving sweeps coins for ‘free’. If you win with the sweeps coins, you can exchange them for dollars and withdraw to your bank.
New York online lottery
New York was an early adopter for lottery games – being the 3rd state to start one after Puerto Rico and New Hampshire. The first draw took place in 1967. Today you can enjoy in-state draws, the huge prizes of multi-state draws, keno games and scratch cards.
There is a detailed website for the lottery, which includes the game rules, results and information on the good causes supported. You won’t find any real money instant lottery games online in New York. You can purchase subscriptions, which allow you to regularly buy tickets with your chosen numbers or randomly picked numbers.
Online gambling bonuses in New York
Each type of online gambling comes with its own set of bonuses and promotions to attract and retain players. This section gives you an overview of what is available from the online gambling brands already active in New York. You will also find a preview of the types of bonus to expect when sports betting, casinos and poker games are regulated.
There will be plenty of incentives to get you to download the apps and to start betting online in NY. These will come in three main types:
- No-Deposit Free Bets: Many online sportsbooks will offer New York residents smaller free bets simply for signing up/downloading a betting app.
- No-Lose First Bets: You can take the risk off the table at many online sportsbooks. If your first bet loses, then your stake is returned as free bets.
- Matched Welcome Offers: This category of deal gives you free bets matched to your first deposit. You’ll have double the shots at landing a winner.
Ongoing sportsbook promotions are important. Look out for odds boosts on big matches, insurance for parlays that lose by a single leg or bets that lose in overtime – and free bets for meeting weekly wagering requirements. Loyalty programs with points for bets are also popular.
Bonuses at horse racing sites in NY
Pari-mutuel betting sites offer a similar range of incentives than the regulated sportsbooks. Here are the bonus offers currently on offer from the 3 biggest sites:
- Bet America: 100% match up to $100
- TVG: Risk free first bet up to $250
- TwinSpires: Bet $500 and get $100 in free bets
Loyalty rewards are the standard way to keep your bankroll topped up. You will also find deals that give you access to past-performance data which could cost money to buy.
Bonuses and NY online casinos
If and when casinos appear in New York, you’ll find a range of different bonuses to choose from. Once again, the welcome bonuses are only a small part of the benefits. Over time, loyalty schemes, free spins, free chips and other ongoing deals will make a much bigger difference.
- No-Deposit Bonuses: Get $20 or so in free-play simply for registering (and sometimes downloading an app). You can use this for slots or table game play.
- Free Spins: This is similar to the no-deposit offer. Instead of cash, you get to spin slots a set number of times, keeping any wins (subject to cash and wagering requirements).
- Matched Welcome Bonuses: Matches of between 100% and 200% are common at online casinos.
Some online casinos may offer refunds if you lose your first deposit instead. Comp or loyalty schemes are popular at online casinos as ongoing incentives. You’ll also find tournament entries (blackjack or slots), free spins and ‘double points’ type promotions are popular.
Bonuses and incentives at online poker sites in NY
When online poker comes to New York, you’ll have a range of different bonuses and ongoing promotions to choose from. The offers listed below are based on those available at the current New Jersey poker rooms:
- No Deposit Bonuses: You’ll find small amounts of cash to play with at the tables, or tokens to enter tournaments/Sit N Goes with are a popular way to attract new players.
- Matched Welcome Offers: Typically, a 100% match (up to around $1000) which can either clear in increments or in a lump sum.
Loyalty rewards and cash back offers are available at every state regulated online poker room. You can also look out for deals like entry to freeroll tournaments – which have real prize money and no entry fee.
All legal online gambling states
What comes next for gambling in New York?
After many years of controversy, things are looking positive for gamblers in the Empire State. Sports betting is now available at casinos and looks poised to go online in 2020. A big question is whether this will be joined by online casino games and poker. This will depend on how bills S 17, S 18 and others fare in the 2020 legislative sessions of the NY senate.
You can gamble online right now. DFS contests are legal, following act S 8153 passed in 2016. You can also bet on horses online, entering the same pari-mutuel pools you’ll find at the tracks. Online lottery can be enjoyed online too – via a ticket subscription option.
Online casino games and poker are both available in New York. They can be found at social gambling sites, which operate under sweepstakes laws. They stay legal by not directly selling you the ‘sweeps coins’ you will use to gamble with.
It is all change for online gambling in New York. Remember to bookmark this page today, for the latest on online gambling sites and legislative changes as and when they occur.